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Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 58 (Volume 3, Chapter 16) | Summary

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Summary

A few days later, Darcy and Bingley visit Longbourn, and the young people go for a walk. Elizabeth and Darcy walk together. She tells him how grateful she is for his role in rescuing Lydia from disgrace. Darcy replies that he did so only because of his feelings for Elizabeth. He professes his love for her and asks if her feelings for him have changed since he first proposed to her. She replies that her feelings have indeed changed, and the two agree that they will be married.

Analysis

The actual proposal is touching but seems anticlimactic after the recent dramatic confrontation between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine. In typical Austen form, the narrator does not share the words with which Elizabeth responds to Darcy's proposal. Once the lovers begin to discuss the events that led to their estrangement and reunion, the dialogue returns. This is the ground Austen prefers to cover—analytical, ironic conversation. Darcy wraps up the ongoing conflict between pride and prejudice: "What did you say of me, that I did not deserve? For, though your accusations were ill-founded, formed on mistaken premises, my behavior to you at the time had merited the severest reproof. It was unpardonable."

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